The revolution is here. Straight to heck with agents (well, except of course my agent, who is a prince and to whom I'm totally loyal I'm ranting very generally here), editors, publishers, and chain bookstore buyers. I own the complete rights to this book (again, my favourite of my books). I'm publishing it under my own imprint. And I'm getting 70% of the retail price, straight to me versus 8.5% in a traditional publishing deal. (*)
I also have full creative control over the cover, the title, the text, the (e-)book design, and the marketing copy. I own the film rights, the foreign rights, and every right. Basically, I'm my own man. A free trader.
Previously, the great argument against self- (or vanity-) publishing aside from it being deeply sad was distribution, or rather the utter lack of it. You might print a book, but no one (except your cronies) could buy it; it wasn't for sale anywhere. Well, now I can print my own book and it's for sale everywhere. Everywhere the Internet goes. (*) Why do I need a publisher to fight for two weeks of table display space in a bookstore if I'm lucky? In a bookstore that's probably not even going to be there in 15 months, by the time the book makes it through the publishing pipeline? My e-books will be "on the shelf" forever for as long as it takes to build a readership. This literally changes everything. (See, e.g., this righteous blog post for the full argument, from the guy who has just totally convinced me.)
We are watching the dominant information pardigm of the past 500 years the printed book pass away in real time. And the gatekeepers go down first.
I've been reading accounts of other authors not too far above my level who are now making an entirely decent living, selling 400 books a day this way, all on their own. That sounds just about like Heaven to me. (Although it's probably worth noting that my extremely nice and very high-powered agent is still out there hustling my new novel around NYC, through traditional channels and, as of last contact, still expressing confidence that he'll place it. So that's nice, too. Thanks, Robert!)
But, basically, the revolution is here. I think the entire publishing industry is about to get disintermediated to at least the extent as has the music industry. And I suspect that both readers and authors alike will benefit. In any case, I certainly intend to jump on the bull's back and see where its rampage takes us.
I couldn't conceivably be any happier to announce the publication of my new, my favourite, and I'm pretty sure my very most entertaining book: DON'T SHOOT ME IN THE ASS, AND OTHER STORIES. It is published worldwide today, exclusively (initially) for the Amazon Kindle. Four million Kindle owners plus any of 2 billion Internet users who grab the free Kindle reader app for virtually any device can as of today buy my new book, for a cool $2.99 (a fifth of the price of my paperbacks) or £2.12 in the UK.
Here's the jacket flap copy for you:
By turns heart-stopping, hilarious, and profound, here are ten new stories of action and technology - from the author of the acclaimed philosophical cyber-thrillers THE MANUSCRIPT and PANDORA'S SISTERS.
• When the shit comes down in a California civil unrest, one man is tooled up and ready to rock - but soon finds himself driving his motorcycle into a flaming roadblock with a mysterious federal agent chick on the back firing an assault rifle over his shoulder…
• Nice-guy hitman Johnny Chen knows that when things don't go well, they go very poorly - and the only way out of the gunfight on this rooftop is straight over the edge and into the enemy's bedroom…
• A corporate takeover in the topsy-turvy world of the dot-com boom leads a burnt-out sysadmin to start confusing the Nerf missile launchers with more dangerous toys…
• An elite (plus hot) Silicon Valley cryptographer finds her work on a collision course with government black-ops - and all hell breaking loose with Chinese and Israelis in a balls-out firefight in her company's server room…
These tales ripple with two-fisted gunplay, white-knuckle computer hacking, and the absurdity of high-tech existence. But beneath the surface, powerful themes underpin the action: the effects of science and technology on our understanding of philosophy and religion (and sex); the quiet capitulation of isolated young men and women who are very handy with computers, guns, or both; and the meaning of our commitments to other people, especially when things begin to fall apart.
Praise for Michael Stephen Fuchs
"Just what a technothriller should be: taut, violent, smart, and very, very technical. The Manuscript packs several kinds of punch as if The Da Vinci Code were written by someone who wasn't an idiot." - Cory Doctorow
"Guns, blackmail, computers, unfathomable corruption, angry young Taoists, and a bloody quest for a mysterious manuscript. Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt, put in a firefight.'" - Kirkus Reviews
"Once the guns come out, it switches gear into a dream-like actioner where characters discuss favourite automatic rifles, perform startling feats of derring-do, and bust caps in various asses. Definitely worth a look." - This Writing Life
"Some writers leave you thinking they know things we ordinary mortals don't have access to. Mr. Fuchs is stupendously talented." - Crème de la Crime
Oh and if you don't happen to read e-books yet, let this be your first. (It was mine.) As I said, the reader is totally free, and can be yours in seconds. Just search for 'Kindle' in Apps on your iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Windows Phone, or Blackberry; or grab the reader for your PC or your Mac. Cheers!
Finally, if you do read the book, I'd love to hear what you think of it - the stories themselves, the e-book design, the reading experience, etc. Any feedback at all is extremely welcome, on the usual address: Thanks!
I have a pretty generous deal with Macmillan: I get 20% of the wholesale price, which is half or less of the retail price. So that's 10% of the cover price to me. Except 15% of that goes to my agent. Yes, a grand total of 8.5% of what you shell out for a book normally actually makes its way to the author. That's on a good day, when a big chain bookstore or Amazon hasn't demanded and gotten a wholesale discount of 70% off the retail price.
What that also is is me paying an 80% royalty rate to my publisher, for the entire life of the books, forever and ever and they get that for doing what is essentially day labour: editing, cover art, and book design (which I've just demonstrated I can do myself); and for distributing the book (which we're about to see who can do better).
Incidentally, I plan to do a print-on-demand paper version, with Amazon's partner for such things, CreateSpace, in case anyone wants a physical one. I'm told set up is cheap and easy; list prices are low; royalties are excellent; and, mainly, you get the print version listed on Amazon, which evidently is the tough bit.